US 340 near Harpers Ferry will reopen, Friday, December 1, 2023, as contractors have completed a major rock fall project ahead of schedule.
The safety-centered project, which removed dangerous rocks and debris from the mountainside high above the road, began on September 12, 2023, and was projected to be a 90-day closure. With cooperation among multiple agencies, the roadway will reopen 10 days ahead of schedule.
In May 2023, Triton Construction Inc. was awarded a contract for $10,277,500 to remove rock and install rockfall barriers on a one-mile section of US 340 where it hugs the Shenandoah River just south of Harpers Ferry.
Triton removed loose material from multiple slopes at once, removing large rocks and boulders that threaten to fall, and installing mesh barriers and fences to catch any large rocks that may fall in the future. US 340 along the Shenandoah River was built in the mid-1950s. The cut slopes and exposed rock tower from 150 to more than 300 feet above the roadway.
In the past week, crews have worked on rumble strips, striping, and reflective pavement markers to complete the project.
Boulders the size of cars came down during the project, sometimes unexpectedly. That’s why the WVDOH chose to close US 340 completely during the project instead of keeping one lane open. Crews have also repaired pavement and guardrail that was damaged from falling rock.
Approximately 2,300 cubic yards of rock equaling 3,530 tons was removed during the project.
The WVDOH took advantage of the road closure to also seal the deck on the bridge over the Shenandoah River, seal cracks on the existing pavement within the closure area, clean ditches and culverts, cut hazardous trees, and complete canopy clearing.
During the closure, the WVDOH also repaired two slips on Chestnut Hill Road, cleaned the ditches, and removed hazardous trees and canopy.
The WVDOH worked in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration, National Park Service, and all local and county officials for a collaborative and responsive approach to maintain traffic during construction.